Ensure that community engagement by MSPs doesn’t exclude people that are outwith community groups, including by using evenings, weekends and online services.
Important, but MSPs with children and other commitments should not be given extra work. There should be a work and home life balance.
Look beyond existing structures - often local community development trusts are excellent in reaching beyond the usual suspects... DTAS might be able to help.
Setting up dedicated online platforms that can both advertise engagement opportunities and provide the avenue to engage (e.g. quick online surveys) will help those who can't attend fixed meeting times. Having some evening and weekend sessions, even if without MSPs attending, will help those with work commitments, particularly if other support (e.g. creche facilities) are also provided.
Utilising effective methods of community engagement and community development expertise ensures that the needs and aspirations of communities are met.
Everyone is important, but also have to engage people who are not on social media. So engaging with community councils, local councils is important, but perhaps engagement through schools? I went to a Scottish Government event at Bell Baxter School in Fife - it was excellent, as the local community could ask questions directly to politicians. A cross party groups of MPS could hold meetings in the community.
Essential to try and involve those that are otherwise regularly excluded. However, speaking to organised groups of disabled people, carers, lone parents, LGBTI and BME communities can help in identifying unintentional barriers to participation which if addressed will increase involvement from under-represented groups.
Surgery days make it hard to people to engage with MSPs so we have to engage on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays instead, Parliament should be more flexible. Also, making sure that MSPs are properly educated on things like learning disabilities and autism in general is important.
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